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The Mysterious Benedict Society (Mysterious Benedict Society #01)by Trenton Lee Stewart
Synopses & Reviews
Are you a gifted child looking for special opportunities?
When this peculiar ad appears in the newspaper, dozens of children enroll to take a series of mysterious, mind-bending tests. (And you, dear reader, can test your wits right alongside them.) But in the end just four very special children will succeed. Their challenge: to go on a secret mission that only the most intelligent and resourceful children could complete. To accomplish it they will have to go undercover at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened, where the only rule is that there are no rules.
As our heroes face physical and mental trials beyond their wildest imaginations, they have no choice but to turn to each other for support. But with their newfound friendship at stake, will they be able to pass the most important test of all?
Welcome to the Mysterious Benedict Society.
"Stewart's (Flood Summer, for adults) first book for young people begins with a bang. Gifted 11-year-old orphan Reynie Muldoon is sharing the newspaper with his tutor when she excitedly points out an ad: 'Are you a gifted child looking for special opportunities?' She encourages him to take the series of tests cited in the ad, and the entire process resembles the otherworldly experience of Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, with puzzles within puzzles and tests within tests — some mental, some ethical, some physical. Ultimately three children pass the first test and go on to the next: Reynie, Sticky (born George) Washington and Kate Wetherall — all of them essentially orphans. A fourth, the 'very, very small' Constance Contraire, joins them later, and Mr. Benedict describes why he has brought them together. Initially, readers — like the four children — may be unsure of what to think about this mysterious gent: Is he hero or villain? Mr. Benedict has recruited them to foil an evil plan, devised by a mysterious 'Sender,' to brainwash the population via secret messages — delivered by children — embedded in television and radio programs. The plot-driven novel follows many adventures among the four, whose unique talents all come into play; readers will likely warm to each of them. A couple of concluding twists involving Kate and Connie may throw readers a bit, but these do not detract from the book's entertainment value or from the author's sound overall structure. Though the book is lengthy, readers will likely enjoy getting lost in this fully imagined realm. Ages 8-12." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Fans of Roald Dahl or Blue Balliett will find a familiar blend of kid power, clues, and adventure." School Library Journal
"With its lively style, fresh character portrayals, and well-timed revelations, this story flies past, thrilling us as it goes. Just be sure your flashlight batteries are well charged." Horn Book Magazine
"The characters are well developed, mostly appealing, and evenhanded. Ellis's line drawings add a crowning flair. Do not miss this one. Buy two copies because they will be needed." VOYA
"[A] feel-good story with a happy ending for the four orphaned and runaway children who find friendship and family." Children's Literature
"Low in physical violence, while being rich in moral and ethical issues, as well as in appealingly complex characters and comedy sly and gross, this Lemony Snicket-style outing sprouts hooks for hearts and minds both..." Kirkus Reviews
Fans of Big Fish, Peter Pan, and Roald Dahl will fall in love with Circus Mirandus, which celebrates the power of seeing magic in world.
Do you believe in magic?
Micah Tuttle does.
Even though his awful Great-Aunt Gertrudis doesnt approve, Micah believes in the stories his dying Grandpa Ephraim tells him of the magical Circus Mirandus: the invisible tiger guarding the gates, the beautiful flying birdwoman, and the magician more powerful than any other—the Man Who Bends Light. Finally, Grandpa Ephraim offers proof. The Circus is real. And the Lightbender owes Ephraim a miracle. With his friend Jenny Mendoza in tow, Micah sets out to find the Circus and the man he believes will save his grandfather.
The only problem is, the Lightbender doesn't want to keep his promise. And now it's up to Micah to get the miracle he came for.
Leo never imagined that time travel might really be possible, or that the objects in H. G. Wells’ science fiction novels might actually exist. And when a miniature time machine appears in Leo’s bedroom, he has no idea who the tiny, beautiful girl is riding it. But in the few moments before it vanishes, returning to wherever—and whenever—it came from, he recognizes the other tiny rider: himself!
His search for the time machine, the girl, and his fate leads him to the New-York Circulating Material Repository, a magical library that lends out objects instead of books. Hidden away in the Repository basement is the Wells Bequest, a secret collection of powerful objects straight out of classic science fiction novels: robots, rockets, submarines, a shrink ray—and one very famous time machine. And when Leo’s adventure of a lifetime suddenly turns deadly, he must attempt a journey to 1895 to warn real-life scientist Nikola Tesla about a dangerous invention. A race for time is on!
In this grand time-travel adventure full of paradoxes and humor, Polly Shulman gives readers a taste of how fascinating science can be, deftly blending classic science fiction elements with the contemporary fantasy world readers fell in love with in The Grimm Legacy.
About the Author
Trenton Lee Stewart, graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and author of the adult novel Flood Summer, lives in Arkansas with his wife and two sons. This is his debut children's novel.
Carson Ellis received her BFA from the University of Montana and has established a loyal following for her artistic collaborations with the band the Decemberists. She lives in Portland, Oregon.
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